After guiding the Lady Bulldogs to five straight playoff appearances, including a pair of trips to the Class 2A Region II final, Rob Schmucker is leaving the Alvord bench.
Schmucker has accepted a head coaching job at Panhandle, which will compete in District 3-2A next year.
“It was a very hard decision,” said Schmucker, who told his players last week. “The hardest moment was telling the girls.”
Schmucker, who is from Nazareth, will be just an hour-and-a-half from his family in his new post. His wife, Sheena, who is his assistant coach, is expecting their second boy in July.
“This move is for the family,” he said.
Mrs. Schmucker will coach cross country and lead the middle school program at Panhandle, while also serving as an assistant in basketball and track.
Schmucker came to Alvord in 2008-09 after serving as the head boys basketball coach at O’Donnell and Lockney for a combined five seasons. His Lady Bulldog teams went 151-53 in six seasons.
“We’ve been very fortunate with the athletes we’ve had here,” Schmucker said. “They are going to continue to have those type of athletes.”
After missing the playoffs Schmucker’s first year, the Lady Bulldogs returned to postseason in 2009-10, falling to Aubrey in bi-district.
The next year, the team lost its only senior, Sam Rogers, in a car accident in the first weeks of the season.
Schmucker helped guide them to a share of the District 9-2A title and the league’s top seed after winning a tiebreaker game. The Lady Bulldogs ended the year with a loss in the region quarterfinals to No. 1 Brock.
In 2011-12, Alvord started the season 20-0 and won the District 9-2A title. The Lady Bullogs were ranked No. 1 for part of the year before again falling to Brock in the 2A Region II final.
After losing their top player, Jordan Ward, to graduation, the Lady Bulldogs came back in 2012-13 with another stellar season, reaching the region final before being stopped by Brock again.
This past year, Alvord went 21-10 and reached the region quarterfinals before falling to No. 1 Sunnyvale.
“Coach Schmucker has done an outstanding job the entire time he has been at Alvord ISD,” said Superintendent Bill Branum. “He is both a great coach and classroom teacher. I believe that he is one of the very best basketball coaches in Texas and know he will continue to be very successful for the remainder of his career. We will miss him as a coach, teacher and person.”
Branum said he’s received numerous resumes for the opening.
“There’s been quite a bit of interest, which is a good thing,” he said. “We hope to start interviewing a few candidates soon. We want to move it along and get the best person.”
Branum added that he hopes to have a new coach hired by the end of June.